The backlash against NFTs has been brewing since the first JPEGs hit the market late last year and yielded revealing sums.
Detractors call them a fraud, the sequel to the initial currency offering bubble that burst the last big cryptocurrency boom in 2018. Critics have said you can right-click and save NFTs, so what makes them so unique? Others said they contribute to global warming.
But on Nov. 8, things took a more definite turn when Jason Citron, the CEO of Discord, triggered an integration with cryptocurrency portfolio MetaMask on twitter. Although his proposal gained support in the crypto market, opposition to his proposal hit like a tsunami.
“I cannot stress enough that the NFTs are a scam made by a group of the worst people in my area and should be seen as a money laundering pyramid scheme burning the planet,” tweeted aranock, an artist and computer scientist, on November 8th. The tweet received over 24,000 likes.
They were not alone. In the section of feedback of Discord, users were strongly opposed to the integration of the cryptocurrency platform, calling the idea “vile” and “extremely harmful”.
The anti-cryptocurrency and NFT backlash has shaken many in the web3 community who believe that experimentation and innovation are what’s needed. “What should we do against this kind of anti-crypto?” tweeted Trent, who works on the NFT, JPG curation protocol.
Soby Saqib, co-founder of Ex Populus, a web3 game company, was amazed at how people were giving in to their base instincts. “How do we educate people about web3/crypto?” he tweeted “What are the people who would benefit most from this?”
The donnybrook hits while the NFT hype is running out. It doesn’t seem like a week goes by that another $100 million fundraising deal isn’t revealed by companies like a16z, Three Arrows or the mighty exchange FTX .
For those in space, the integration of blockchain-based resources into all facets of the Internet seems inevitable, and desirable. So the backlash has knocked many crypto proponents aside, including the CEO of Discord.
As soon as Citron made his proposal, he backtracked and tweeted that the company has no plans to integration with MetaMask. Still, his trial balloon increased the tension between the pro- and anti-crypto communities.
The debate accelerated in the days that followed. Vincent Van Dough, alias of Starry Night Capital, an NFT fund, was involved in a troll war with the NFT’s detractors from the community furry.
“After watching @jasoncitron kneel down in front of an ill-informed crowd, I thought it was time to point out the absurdity of the total rejection of a technology that has changed the lives of countless artists for the better,” tweeted Vincent Van Dough.
The furry community did not bow down. Its members are known for working in IT and tend to hire artists directly for their work. Furry members are particularly skeptical of NFTs. This week, one of them asked artists to make sure others don’t resell their art as NFTs. “There are people like these who can steal from you and turn your art into an NFT,” tweeted Marzi. “Please be careful with everyone.”
Vincent Van Dough’s battle with the furry community culminated in the collector selling an NFT with a background made up of many people in the furry community’s profile photos. The winning bid? 20.35 ETH or more than $86,370 as of November 17th.
Not everyone was amused. “Someone sold my profile picture as an NFT as part of a collage for nearly $100,000,” tweeted one reviewer in an apparent response to Vincent Van Dough’s ploy. The Foundation, where the NFT was listed, withdrew it due to a notice from the DCMA.
Needless to say, it was one of the most contentious crypto cultural clashes in history. David Kaye , a game creator and pioneer in buying digital assets, says the fight isn’t necessarily harmful. He points out that ETH uses a lot of energy in proof-of-work mining and that some NFTs can be loosely described as a Ponzi scheme.
“The problem with these reviews is that they’re not totally unfounded,” Kaye told The Defiant. “There’s a lot more that we haven’t discovered than we do. I think we would do well to listen to skeptics and engage with them, as they are bona fide and well-informed critics, because we will all end up with better products in the end. ”
In addition to the furry members, Kaye believes that hardcore gamers also make up a big part of the anti-cryptographic community. Discord was originally created to help players coordinate in real time. And these people are still an important part of the Discord user base.
Also, the gaming industry in particular has a history of fighting change. “There was a period where, for a long time, people were really quite hostile to free-to-play and it was only when there were games that really reached such a huge scale that they were just undeniably real games by any metric, that it passed,” said Kaye.
Free games mean what the name suggests – they’re free to play, with features like in-game purchases or advertising that generate revenue. Kaye also notes that gamers, one of Discord’s main user bases, are extremely online, leading to a growing backlash.
“If you’re hostile to begin with, you’ll find a way to validate that,” said Kaye. The game developer continued to mention that the growing NFT gaming community has a habit of producing and selling NFTs with only a vague promise of future use in the game.
Aranock, who wrote the anti-NFT viral tweet, isn’t moving. “There is nothing unique, useful or positive to be found in the NFT market that cannot be found without its problems elsewhere,” they told The Defiant in a message.
With both sides working, some web3s simply hope to create blockchain-based versions of Discord. “Who is building web3 Discord?” tweeted Amy Wu, partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners. “I would love to talk.”